DATE: October 11, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Mills, Broward County
Parks and Recreation Division
A recent survey of residents served by Broward County Master Gardeners indicates that the volunteer horticulturists, who receive more than 120 hours of training in Florida-Friendly landscaping, are a valuable resource that help residents save money, conserve water and reduce pesticide use.
More than 200 volunteers participate in the program, which is offered through Broward County Parks and Recreation Division’s Extension Education section. Each participant receives intensive lecture, lab and field training in Florida-Friendly landscape principles, which are designed to protect natural resources through water conservation, waste and pollution reduction, erosion prevention and creation of wildlife-sustaining habitats.
Last year, volunteers assisted more than 82,000 clients, and answered more than 26,000 inquiries received in-person, at public presentations, through email and via telephone. Four hundred of those clients were surveyed and 104 responded.
• Ninety-five percent of respondents felt their queries were answered completely.
• Ninety-five percent indicated they had changed their landscaping practices as a result of the new information provided by Master Gardeners.
• Forty-nine percent indicated that they had noticeably decreased fertilizer use as a result of advice provided by Master Gardeners, much of the decrease due to education received on putting the “right plant” in the “right place.”
• More than 68 percent reported using fewer pesticides.
• Thirty-eight percent documented significant reductions in water use.
• Combined annual savings reported by respondents was $52,705, an average of approximately $507 per resident.
Master Gardeners also work closely with Local Master Gardener Coordinators in 30 Broward County cities. "We are pleased to report the progress of our Master Gardeners, and are actively recruiting for the next Master Gardener Training Class," said Dr. John Pipoly, Broward County extension agent.
The next series of Master Gardener Classes will begin on March 8 and finish on June 14, 2012. If you are interested in joining this group, visit broward.org/parks, click EXTENSION EDUCATION, or email Sandy Granson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Linda Shelton at email@example.com.